Florence Welch, Meet Jane Eyre: When Music and Literature Collide

Florence Welch, Meet Jane Eyre

For my audiophile writers out there, definitely add Florence + The Machine’s “Only If For A Night” to your writing playlist.

I was driving one morning on my way to work when Florence and the Machine came up on a playlist I’d made the day before. I turned up the volume and started singing along. It was “Only If For A Night,” the opening track to their 2011 album, Ceremonials. (I can’t believe how time has passed!) Then, as I was comprehending the words that I was singing, I stopped–and listened. And then Charlotte Bronte came to me through passages of Jane Eyre, specifically the ones relating to Helen, Jane’s friend who died. Jane, having gone through a lifetime’s worth of grief by that point in the first place (orphaned, abandoned by her existing family, enduring child abuse), now she’s lost her one true friend whom she loved more than anything.

That’s when I realized that “Only If For A Night,” to me, was Jane’s relationship with Helen. The words that Florence Welch was singing reflected Jane’s private mourning of a loved one who would be forgotten by all others. Only Jane would remember her and give her an eternity through memory.

And then my eyes started stinging because of all of the salt water that welled up there.

I’ve Googled both the song and novel together to see if there’s a connection and have found nothing. If I ever get the chance to meet Florence Welch, she will resolve this quandary for me once and for all.

I’ve taken the liberty of posting the live version from Florence and the Machine’s VEVO YouTube channel and also providing a link to iTunes. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking song. For those of you out there familiar with Jane Eyre (even if you’ve only seen any of the film adaptations), listen to the song, check out the lyrics, and see if you make the same connection that I did.

Florence + the Machine – Only If For A Night (iTunes)

**This post was originally posted on August 11, 2014**

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